Film review: Welcome to the Punch (15)
Writer-director Eran Creevy, having impressed on debut with his low-key crime thriller Shifty (2008), has been rewarded with a shot at the big time in Welcome to the Punch.
Backed by exec-producer Ridley Scott, Creevy gathers a prestige cast and does for London what Michael Mann does for Los Angeles – films it as a glittering and sinister high-rise metropolis, as seen from a helicopter at night. As a calling-card for Hollywood it will do nicely.
James McAvoy and Mark Strong face off as cop and nemesis: Max Lewinsky (McAvoy) was badly wounded attempting to catch Jacob Sternwood (Strong) in a high-numbers robbery (the set-piece chase is a smart opener).
Three years later, Sternwood's son is gunned down in London, provoking the thief to come out of hiding and nail the culprit. Meanwhile, an argument over whether to arm the police dominates Westminster and may determine the outcome of an election.
The cast lend the film heavyweight presence: Andrea Riseborough plays Max's feisty, plain-speaking partner; David Morrissey is the police brass; Peter Mullan is Strong's enforcer, Johnny Harris (London to Brighton) is a scary gun-dealer; Daniel Mays and Jason Flemyng pop up, loyal graduates from Shifty. Ed Wild's crisp cinematography lights it in moody shades of gunmetal and dawn-blue.
All in all, a homegrown product to cheer, if not wholly to cherish. It lacks the integrity of his debut, the revenge-plus-conspiracy plot is fairly standard, and the gunplay gets well out of hand by the finale. McAvoy isn't good casting for the hard-bitten cop – too callow, too Hobbity – though Strong compensates with a performance of steely command.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
- 2 Pictures show young Palestinian girl biting Israeli soldier trying to detain boy during West Bank protests
- 3 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 4 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe Ned Stark's son may have a twin sister
Edinburgh Fringe 2015: Monty Python-inspired Australian Sam Simmons wins comedy award with 'very silly' show
Game of Thrones season 6: Director promises most exciting premiere yet 'starts off with a bang'
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Online toy marathon to launch new film
Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet: Technician quits after social media row with actor's fans
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics